You could say Jami Svay is a bit unconventional. But only in the best sense of the word. A natural beauty oozing with confidence, Svay is the makeup artist who wears no makeup. "When most people see me, I just have on lip gloss and sunglasses," she admits.
Originally an inspiring fashion designer, Svay studied textiles at the Art Institute of Atlanta and Bauder. But after a change of heart and canvas, she has spent the last 12 years as an artist whose palette is a myriad of beauty products. Though she's practically a professional jet setter, working in fashion hubs like NYC and Miami for months at a time, Svay is the type of gal who loves to come home to a plate of ribs and cold beer.
When she's not on the set of Hunger Games touching up Lenny Kravitz' nose or perfecting a model's face during New York Fashion Week (which she attends annually), Svay is answering her other creative callings. "My husband tells me I don't have hobbies, I have businesses," she says, laughing.
Her latest venture, hobby-turned-business is Raw Sugar, a chic hair accessories line featuring a collection of gorgeous pieces to satisfy every taste bud.
Creative Loafing: Tell me about Raw Sugar.
Jami Svay: Raw Sugar is my hair accessories line and it's made from vintage fabrics and recycled clothing. I guess the whole mantra of it is, I'm very much a vintage kind of girl, I love old things but then I like to kind of make it my own and make it new. I think the line is a great vision of that because I'll use old vintage curtains or dresses and rip them up and do something else ... I've been doing that since I was a little girl. I would take my mom's sheets - it was me mom, I'm sorry! [laughs] - cut them up and make stuff. Raw Sugar is just that vision come to life. As women, we want to feel sexy, we want to feel cute. Accessories are the icing on the cake for me. You have your outfit but you polish it off with a bracelet or earrings or something like that. To me, I feel like you're not complete without accessories.
What inspired the name of your line?
I've been into fashion since I was a little girl, and back in the day we had real designers. We had Todd Oldham, Halston, Isaac Mizrahi, people who sketched and drew and sewed and really got on their hands and knees to draw patterns and really put their heart and soul into creating ... Now, you are a celebrity, you throw your name on it and it's out. You know, I don't diss it, but I do miss the way things used to be done. So to me, raw is like the raw form of fashion, the creating process in its raw form. And sugar is one of my favorite spices ... it makes everything sweet and that's what my line is. It makes things sweet, happy. So, Raw Sugar couture just fit.
What is it about your job as a makeup artist that keeps you coming back?
I love my job. I truly do. Meeting new people. My profession always puts me in front of someone new ... a new challenge every day. It's still challenging 12 years later. Like the other day I was doing a shoot for Hanes. They're introducing a new bra line and the model they picked had freckles everywhere except for this one spot on her chest and the photographer was like "Hey can you fill in that spot with extra freckles?" I had never put freckles on, I've covered them up but no one had ever asked me to add them. I was like "That's a new one. I'll add that to the list: freckle maker."
Find the eco chic line (which uses recycled clothing and vegan leather) online at Etsy or in local boutiques KK Bloom in Selwyn or Elle VJ in Ayrsley.
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